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NORTH TEXAS Team Report
The first year of "Dodge ball" proved to be exciting, but the results weren't acceptable. Coach Todd Dodge brought an exciting brand of offense to the program, and it featured an explosive passing game.
However, the defense allowed more than 45 points a game, which prompted Dodge to fire Ron Mendoza and hire former North Texas defensive coordinator Gary DeLoach, who was on the Mean Green staff from 1998-2002.
The 2002 Mean Green defense ranked third nationally and was a key to winning the Sun Belt title.
"We are tremendously excited about the return of Gary DeLoach as our defensive coordinator," Dodge said. "He is a great motivator and teacher and he has a proven track record of developing and implementing successful defensive systems.
"At the end of the day we hired a great defensive coach, but more importantly we hired a guy who is a great fit for North Texas and this football program."
DeLoach, who spent five seasons at UCLA, won't have the talent he had in his first stint, but the defense should be much improved.NOTES, QUOTES
--North Texas ranked last in the Sun Belt in defense last year, allowing more than 45 points a game. The Mean Green gave up more than 70 points twice -- against Oklahoma and Navy.
--QB Giovanni Vizza set the North Texas freshman passing record last season, throwing for 2,388 yards.
SPRING OBJECTIVES: The Mean Green defense needs a major overhaul after ranking last in the Sun Belt in 2007. The return of defensive coordinator Gary DeLoach, who served in that position for five years previously at North Texas.
BUILDING BLOCKS: North Texas returns an outstanding passing game with sophomore QB Giovanni Vizza and senior WR Casey Fitzgerald. The running game also should be solid with sophomore Micah Mosley.
SCHEDULE SITUATION: The Mean Green faces a rugged road early with non-conference games at Kansas State, at home against Tulsa, at LSU and at Rice.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Any time you have a tough season like we did, you are anxious to put it behind you and get back to work. While we were disappointed in the wins and losses, we know that we made improvement that will help us as we continue to develop this program." -- Second-year coach Todd Dodge.STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
STARS OF 2008:
WR Casey Fitzgerald -- The senior shattered Sun Belt records last season with 111 receptions for 1,322 yards and 12 touchdowns.
QB Giovanni Vizza -- He threw for 2,388 yards and 17 touchdowns as a freshman.
DL Joseph Miller -- The senior is the top returning lineman, having recorded 48 tackles, including six for losses, in 2007.
QB Riley Dodge -- The Parade All-American is the son of coach Todd Dodge and will have an opportunity to compete for the starting job as a true freshman.
OL Gabe Hollivay -- The 6-3, 320-pound junior college transfer will have an opportunity to make an immediate impact.
DB Justin Edwards -- The 6-1, 185-pound junior college transfer should make an impact for a secondary that struggled mightily last year.
--Backup LB Bryant Seidle (shoulder) missed most of his sophomore season, but should be back for the spring.
--Ron Mendoza was fired as defensive coordinator after the Mean Green ranked last in the league in total defense scoring defense. He was replaced by former Mean Green defensive coordinator Gary DeLoach.
Previous Report: 02/08/2008